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Mary at The Wren Coffee
Photograph: Andy Parsons Photographer

An essential guide to coffee counter small talk

By Time Out editors
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There’s no Londoner more intimidating than an indie-coffee-shop barista. They inspire awe and anxiety in equal measure. Here’s how to engage in just-dead casual chit-chat.

DO SAY

‘Very into the whole mid-century-meets-Basquiat aesthetic you guys have curated in here.’


DON’T SAY

‘Have you heard of Banksy? You should get a Banksy print.’

Photograph: Ozone Coffee Shoreditch

DO SAY

[Gesturing towards a Sonos blaring perplexing electronica]
‘What’s this playing now? It’s fantastic.’

DON’T SAY

[Gesturing towards a customer’s ringtone – ‘Shotgun’ by George Ezra]
‘What’s this playing now? It’s fantastic.’

Photograph: Prufrock Coffee

DO SAY

‘The almonds in your milk, are they locally reared and humanely blended?’

DON’T SAY

‘Could I get squirty cream, hundreds and thousands and five extra lids, please?’

Photograph: Old Spike Roastery


DO SAY

‘How much for one of your tote bags? Not the vagina one, the cat grave one. £27? Super.’

DON’T SAY

‘I’ll have the cheapest item you sell, the wi-fi password and directions to a power socket so that I might ostentatiously hammer out another four chapters of my self-published erotic sci-fi novel while grunting unsettlingly.’

Make friends using your new coffee chat in one of these brilliant coffee bars in London.

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